Earlier in the week, union workers from General Motors (GM) voted in favor of ratifying a controversial United Auto Workers (UAW) deal. This agreement comes as a result of a lengthy and hard-fought bargaining process that began back in October when UAW members began preparations for a potential strike.
The deal brings both immediate and long-term relief for GM workers as it contains a $11,000 signing bonus and a commitment to directly hire 7,000 people in the US. In addition, the agreement includes a 3.5 percent wage increase in 2020, 3.5 percent lump sum bonus payments, improved healthcare plans and raise in pay for temporary workers.
Although the deal had its supporters, there were critics who felt the agreement came up short in its goal to close the wage gap between GM’s tier-one and tier-two workers. This would have closed the wage disparity created after GM reduced wages for tier-two employees after their entry into the corporation.
Despite the criticism, Union officials argued that the agreement made some important steps in the right direction. The agreement also included a provision which allows for the voluntary seniority transfer of tier one workers who chose to move to tier two jobs. This will help thousands of tier-one employees who either want to continue working at GM or seek other employment outside of the corporation.
While the agreement itself has now been ratified, negotiations are still ongoing as the union attempts to reach a similar deal with GM’s competitor, Ford. Until that agreement is reached, workers from both corporations will be in limbo as they wait for a fair wage package and other benefits.
Fortunately, the ratification of GM’s UAW deal is a positive sign for the labor representation organization as well as for GM workers who will benefit significantly from the agreement. After a long and arduous negotiation period, it appears that the two parties have finally aligned in their mutual goals to bring the best working situation to their members.